WESTER ROSS SALMON: THE LIFE OF OUR FISH
At Wester Ross, we are part of our salmon's journey from egg to processing.
The salmon is an anadromous animal meaning that its juvenile phase is spent in freshwater and then it undergoes physiological changes to allow it to spend the majority of its life in seawater. It then returns to freshwater to breed.
Ova to Alevin to Fry
After hatching from ova, the first phase of the life cycle of a salmon is the alevin stage. At this stage, the fish uses the nutrients in its yolk sack for growth. Once the yolk sac is exhausted, the young salmon reaches the 'free-swimming' fry stage; at which point they begin to eat other food.
We nuture our fry at our Elphin Freshwater Site in water from the hills, often snow melt, until they are ready to smolt.
Fry to Parr
Eventually, dark, oval parr marks develop along its flank as it reaches the final freshwater stage. This is when the fry becomes a parr. During the spring the increasing day length triggers a physiological change to allow the fish to survive in salt water. The parr loses its parr-marks and starts swimming with the current. This change is known as smoltification, and at this point the salmon can be transferred to seawater to grow.
At smoltation, our salmon are moved to be stocked in either one of two seawater sites — Ardmair Seawater Site in even years, Corry Seawater Site in odd years. Alternating the sites provides a fallow period, allowing natural recovery and regeneration of the site and preserving the environment.
Growth in Sea Water
Our salmon spend the rest of their time at our Ardessie Seawater Site. This is our grow-out site where, once the fish have been graded, the smaller fish are moved to grow to selling weight.
Our salmon are hand-fed a responsibly-sourced diet and a high-quality, sustainable fishmeal, developed specifically for Wester Ross. The fishmeal is made from offcuts of the filleting process of fish bound for human consumption originating from the North-east Atlantic only.
The welfare of our salmon is critical. That is why each of our salmon is entirely hand reared.
Careful, humane harvesting methods in accordance with RSPCA Assured guidelines avoid stress to the fish and ensure the best quality salmon.
Our processing facility is in Dingwall, where our salmon are cleaned and filleted by hand to customer specifications. Despatch from the processing plant is within 24 hours of harvest.